Cosmetic Dentistry Blog Cosmetic and General Dentistry Questions Answered

April 2, 2010

They can’t do a root canal on my front tooth. What now?

Filed under: Root canals — mesasmiles @ 5:42 pm

Dr. Hall,
I have had two dentists try to do a root canal on a front tooth of mine. Both were unable to get through the root to the end because of calcium build up. I am now looking at having an implant done on this tooth. Is this the best choice or is there a dentist out there who would be able to do something the other two dentist could not and get all the way to the end of this root canal?
– Teri in Utah

Sometimes teeth have blockages in the roots and it isn’t possible to do a root canal treatment.

But before you give up on your front tooth, be sure that a root canal specialist (endodontist) has tried. They have special, fine, ultrasonic tips that can sometimes break through these calcium buildups. Usually general dentists will do root canal treatments on front teeth, because the roots are straight, there is easy access, and they are uncomplicated. But it sounds like you need a specialist.

It’s also possible to seal the root end of a tooth surgically, without going through the tooth. That isn’t difficult to do on a front tooth. It’s called an apicoectomy and retrofill. That might be an option to consider in your case, though there are extra possible complications when you can’t clean out all of the dead tissue inside the tooth. I’d look to the opinion of a specialist on that issue, too.

In my opinion, it’s always best to save a tooth if it is reasonably possible. There’s no substitute that is quite like your own natural tooth.
– Dr. Hall

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About David A. Hall

Dr. David Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does complete Internet marketing for dentists.

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